You might have come across this term manner times,maybe even witnessed it. Movies love to portray at least one scene of quicksand. You might’ve even seen the ‘forwarded’ messages where one is literally bouncing on the ground. How does this happen. More specifically,why does it happen? 

  • What is quicksand?

Okay,let’s not dig directly into the concept. First….. Let’s get to know about what exactly is this quicksand. So,have you ever seen people playing and diving in oobleck? What is this ‘oobleck’? Basically,oobleck is cornstarch or cornflour +water. When you mix water with this oobleck, it does something completely ofbeat.If you’ve not seen this ‘oobleck’ then just grab on some cornflour and water and mix them. But…what does this imply and how the heck is it related with quicksand??!?

Okay! No more suspense! Let me ask you something. Do you believe this statement that everything in this world is made of some..or the other ‘matter’. First of all,why should I believe in these statements just because my textbooks say so. Well, actually it’s completely on us whether to believe these statements or not. By believing these factors, these statements,these assumptions,we can categorise,classify and discover many more things. And the species of humans are achingly curious. They do not limit anywhere and continue to explore,invent and discover. So,by the statement that ‘everything is made of some ‘matter’ or some basic ‘elements’ is our own postulates which actually help us to live in a better way. So ya,to understand a few concepts,you have to accept these postulates even if they are wrong. (Just like I have to get an yearly paid membership to binge-watch various shows,even if that means pulling up and all nighter. Sad? I know..)

 In our textbooks this diagram is very common,

Matter→ Molecules→Atoms→ Electrons,Protons,Neutrons

So,this statement is pretty contradictory about an atom being invincible because then your next statement is that an atom is made up of three things and we will not delve into that part,at least not for now.

So ya,oobleck also has some particles in them. Alright,till the all cool. But this is when it’s dry and something very enthalpy. And what is that….??

Okay,so you might have believed until now that,’Physics and chemistry applies for non-living beings and biology is the only branch where living things’   Hate to make this complicated for you but,All The Three Branches Of The Above Science Apply To Everything Which Belongs. Which is why they are branches of science. What is Science? Anything which is studied deeply is called a science of that particular object.

Oobleck,when dry has some particles in it,and when you play with dry corn flour,it has small particles which distribute themselves when you play with it. But upon adding water,this distribution kind of changes. Now it becomes a sheer thickening liquid. What do mean by sheer thickening liquids? Basically,it reacts to pressure in a different way than normal liquids do. That is,upon applying pressure,it acts like a solid and upon releasing the pressure,it acts like a liquid. Which basically gives it one more synonym: a Non Newtonian liquid. ‘Liquid’ would arise yet another contradiction and therefore the term  ‘mixture’ is more preferable.

Now that you know oobleck,just know that quicksand has almost the exact properties that of oobleck. Quicksand is nothing but water mixed into the sand. Only that this ‘mixture’ is present in large quantities and  occures naturally without any human interference . By this, I mean that none of the human interference end up being the result of  the formation of quicksand. The only difference oobleck and quicksand is that sand is much more 

‘granular’ than oobleck and this makes it a bit different from oobleck.


  • What makes quicksand harmful?

Well well, here’s the thing which is mind boggling, isn’t it? Quicksand, initially acts like a vacuum.Why?How? Well because of its sheer thickening property, anything and everything which stands still on its surface,the objects tends to get sucked inside the quicksand. The formation of quicksand can also be observed in forest in the cases of ‘granular soil’ mixed with water. As per experiments,as sand is more granular and has more minute particles in them,the quicksand free near the forests are usually more dangerous. Ultimately,if you just run on a quicksand it would  not engulf you,unless you stand still or dump in right into the quicksand,the quicksand will not gulp you. Just remember the property of the sheer thickening mixtures,and be a bit more watchful and..You’re good to go!

  • But what if you did manage to get yourself into quicksand?

First of all,that would not be pleasant. But if you did,then your only chance is to make space or a greater surface area. Usually, quicksand pits are not all that deep,and normally can come up to an average adult’s  waist. But do not be faxed by this,there were cases when two people who unknowingly stepped on quicksand died of choking because the pit was too deep. First of all,DO NOT PANIC. Every situation can be handled smoothly if you stop ripping those hair off your head. One can bend behind to create a surface area or keep on wiggling your feet. DO NOT try to fight quicksand by shaking your whole body. The less mass on you,the better. As a precaution,be careful and gentle while shaking your feet because any carelessness can result in severe damage. Many types of ‘survival instincts’ can be found with illustrations by experts on sites. At least I haven’t gotten the pleasure to see a quicksand pit. So,even if I do tell you a lot,I still can’t describe more. Because  I can just give you a theory. The practical use is all upon you!!

Fact: Quicksand is twice as dense as us!!

Categories: Science